September Case Spotlight

In January 2020, attorney Randall Mansour received a phone call from a discouraged woman who was denied by the Social Security Administration at the initial level. The claimant was suffering from severe mental health conditions that had worsened over the last few years. At this point, her mental health provider had recommended she apply for benefits, as she too was concerned about her patient’s mental state and ability to function, especially in a competitive work environment. Her therapist knew that this woman needed help and additional resources that could get her through this tough time and even improve her quality of life.

When she called Disability Law Group, she was met with empathy and felt confident that she was at the right place for help in her disability claim. Immediately, Disability Law Group worked together to file her request for reconsideration on the earlier decision denying her benefits to ensure the Social Security Administration would take another look at her disability claim. During this period, our staff worked diligently to obtain updated medical records from her mental health provider, and her attorney even drafted a Medical Source Statement to help document the severity of her symptoms and resulting work-related limitations of her conditions. While another denial was issued at the Reconsideration level – which is most common at this stage – Mr. Mansour did not give up. Our staff immediately filed an appeal, requesting a hearing before an ALJ.

Within only a few months of filing the appeal to appear in front of an ALJ, a phone hearing was scheduled. Prior to the phone hearing, an additional Medical Source Statement from the treating psychiatrist was requested and obtained in support of her case. Moreover, Attorney Mansour submitted a detailed memorandum to the ALJ that asserted the claimant met a mental Listing due to the severity of his client’s mental health impairments. The ALJ considered everything and decided to send the claimant’s file to a Medical Expert for interrogatories. Once Randall received the unfavorable interrogatories, he reviewed them immediately and filed an objection to the Medical Expert as the doctor was a pediatrician and not a psychiatrist who specializes in mental health.

Fortunately, the ALJ agreed with counsel’s objection and scheduled a supplemental hearing with a psychiatrist to reassess the claimant’s conditions. At the hearing, the psychiatrist agreed that the claimant not only met one listing but also met at least two other listings which resulted in a ‘Fully Favorable’ decision. Thankfully, our client can now obtain not only back-pay she was owed and monthly benefits to rely on in helping her pay her bills and provide her with a critical medical insurance to seek additional services, but she felt heard and supported.

If you or someone you know are suffering from any impairment – mental, cognitive and/or physical – contact us today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. We will work with you, and alongside your doctors, to ensure all evidence needed is received and your rights are protected. You can rely on our team at Disability Law Group from start to finish to provide you with the expert advice and compassionate representation to help deliver the benefits you deserve.

August Case Spotlight

In August 2021 Partner Mandy Kelly received a great win for a widow of a disabled Veteran. The Veteran surviving’s spouse came to Mandy Kelly several years earlier contending that her husband’s brain cancer was caused by his exposure to oil well fires and burn pits while serving in Kuwait. The widow was armed with medical literature to support this contention, but she knew brain cancer was not a condition that the VA presumes is caused by exposures from the Gulf War. Mandy Kelly knew that this would be an uphill battle for this widow but was willing to take on the challenge.  The Veteran served on active duty from 1989 to 1993, with additional National Guard service. Military personnel records demonstrate that the Veteran was involved in Operation Eager Mace in Kuwait. After thoroughly reviewing the Veteran’s service records, Mandy Kelly was able to obtain not one, but three doctors to agree that the chemicals the Veteran was exposed to can lead to brain cancer.

Generally, to establish service connection, a claimant must show: (1) a present disability; (2) an in-service incurrence or aggravation of a disease or injury; and (3) a causal relationship between the present disability and the disease or injury incurred or aggravated during service, the so-called “nexus” requirement. 38 U.S.C. §§ 1110, 1131; 38 C.F.R. § 3.303.

To establish service connection for cause of death, there are many complex rules and difficult hurdles that a veteran must meet. However, a veterans disability attorney can help a veteran navigate the veterans benefit process, and help prove that the disability incurred in or aggravated by active service either caused or contributed substantially or materially to the cause of death. 38 U.S.C. § 1310. A service-connected disability will be considered as the principal (primary) cause of death when such disability, singly or jointly with some other disorder, was the immediate or underlying cause of death or was etiologically related thereto. A contributory cause of death is inherently one not related to the principal cause. In determining whether the service-connected disability contributed to death, it must be shown that it contributed substantially or materially, that it combined to cause death, or that it aided or lent assistance to the production of death. It is not sufficient to show that it casually shared in producing death, but rather it must be shown that there was a causal connection. 38 C.F.R. § 3.312.

A Board of Veterans’ Appeals hearing was held in February 2021 and all legal arguments were presented by attorney Kelly. In the end, the Judge agreed with Mandy’s arguments and held that the evidence supplied supported that the Veteran’s brain cancer was at least as likely as not caused by his exposures while serving in Kuwait, ultimately leading to his death. Furthermore, Mandy Kelly also argued that the accompanying epilepsy and psychiatric conditions were also secondary service connected conditions, for which the Judge agreed.   The lawyers at Disability Law Group understand that a favorable decision like this one gives minimal solace to a grieving widow, but we know that a veterans’ surviving family member needs a strong advocate in their corner to help obtain all benefits owed. If you, or someone you know, was exposed to burn pits or oil well fires, contact Disability Law Group today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. Whether you were already denied or if you would like advice from the very start, contact us today and speak with one of our attorneys to understand your rights and get the representation that you need.

July Case Spotlight

Attorney Erika Riggs was contacted by a woman from Macomb, Michigan, who had been referred to her from another attorney to help with her Social Security Disability case. She had worked as a senior accounting specialist for many years before her health problems took a turn for the worse. In August of 2018, she suffered a heart attack and underwent a triple coronary bypass; she also suffered from uncontrolled diabetes with diabetic neuropathy, retinopathy, high blood pressure, and obstructive sleep apnea. Hoping that she would recover and improve after surgery, she took about one year off work before realizing that she would not be able to return and needed help applying for SSD benefits. When she called Disability Law Group, she knew she found the right place to help her win her case. Attorney Riggs and staff immediately got to work on her SSD application.

At this level, SSA issued a ‘Partially Favorable’ decision, granting disability benefits but only back to January of 2019. However, in review of the medical evidence, Erika determined that this date was completely arbitrary and simply unfair. After speaking with her client, Mrs. Riggs filed a Request for Reconsideration, arguing that the true date that disability began in August of 2018 when the heart attack and surgery took place, and rendered her client unable to work. At this time, in October of 2020, a representative from Social Security (SSA) called Erika and stated that they were going to be requesting that her client see yet another doctor for a consultative examination. Under normal circumstances, this examination would be considered standard and there would be no issue. However, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Erika’s client was overcome with fear of attending this exam as she was at high-risk considering her severe cardiac and pulmonary conditions.

Attorney Riggs contacted the SSA representative and advised that there was already a recent examination, and now updated medical evidence in support of granting her client’s disability benefits back to August of 2018; therefore, her client would not be attending this additional exam due to the risk involved. Unfortunately, SSA then issued another ‘Partially Favorable’ decision, only this time with an even less advantageous date of November 2020 due to her turning 55 years old at that time. This new decision not only meant that the client would potentially have to wait even longer for Medicare to take effect, but also that she may have to pay back the SSD benefits she received over the few months prior while awaiting this determination. Erika talked with her client and they agreed that we would not give-up the fight, especially here when the evidence does not support the decisions made. Disability Law Group filed a request for hearing.

The hearing before an ALJ was scheduled for June of 2021. A few days before the hearing, the ALJ called attorney Erika Riggs, stating that she would never have appealed the prior decisions and asked if we would consider withdrawing the request for hearing. Erika kindly advised that we would not be withdrawing the request and, instead, we would be moving forward with the hearing scheduled seeking disability benefits back to August of 2018, when she believed her client became disabled. Mrs. Riggs drafted a thorough brief in support of the case, and she presented arguments before the Judge to help prove disability beginning on that date. Erika developed testimony from the client to confirm that her current Medicaid coverage does not cover her continuous glucose monitor, which has been a significant factor in her inability to monitor and control her blood sugar levels. Medicare is the insurance program that accompanies SSD, and Erika knew how important this insurance would be for her client.

Within just a few weeks, the decision was made: Fully Favorable! This decision meant that Erika’s client no longer has to worry about owing money back to SSA, and that she would receive thousands of dollars in additional money owed back to her as well as immediate entitlement to Medicare. This is what Erika’s client had to say: Erika Riggs is a fantastic Attorney. She looks at your case and will tell you if she feels you have a case. Then she fights for you, believes in you and stands by your side through the whole process.”

If you need an experienced, compassionate disability attorney on your side to help you win and keep the disability benefits that you deserve, contact Disability Law Group. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you at every step of the way. Whether you have been denied, or would like advice from the very start, contact us today and speak with an attorney for a free consultation to understand your rights and get the representation that you deserve.

June Case Spotlight

In August 2020, attorney Randall Mansour received a phone call from a young woman who had been battling severe back problems from multiple surgeries in 2014 and 2016. Recognizing her significant health issues, but still needing a means to pay her bills, she pushed herself to work as much as she could until she began receiving short-term and eventually long-term disability benefits. Despite multiple visits to hospitals and specialist in hopes of getting better and resuming work, she realized that she was not going to be able to work, and certainly not perform the job she was used to. Her doctors agreed, and recommended that she apply for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. In March of 2020, she submitted her SSD application. Unfortunately, her claim was denied at the application level, and she had only a limited timeframe to appeal.

When she called Disability Law Group, she was met with compassion and care and felt confident that she was at the right place for help in her disability claim. That same day, she hired attorney Randall Mansour – with only 10 days before her appeal deadline. Mr. Mansour and his staff worked swiftly and carefully on her case, and timely filed the appeal on her behalf, even providing Social Security with pertinent updated medical records from her treating doctors. While another denial was issued at the Reconsideration level, Randall immediately filed an appeal, requesting a hearing before an ALJ. Additionally, he was able to assist his client in getting her hearing scheduled promptly by – while all hearing offices remain closed to the public due to the pandemic. Mr. Mansour worked with his dedicated team at Disability Law Group to obtain critical medical evidence, and statements in support of her case from her doctors, in addition to thoroughly prepping the client for her hearing.

Prior to the scheduled hearing, Mr. Mansour realized there was an opportunity to ask for a re-opening of a prior decision that his client had filed almost a year prior to this claim; she had never pursued that prior claim once denied in hopes of being able to return to work. During the hearing, the judge took Mr. Mansour’s arguments into consideration, specifically the chance for a re-opening, considering we had medical records in support of disability since 2016. Additionally, Randall highlighted the claimant’s exceptional work history even despite her first back surgery in 2014 and second back surgery in 2016 at which point her health deteriorated. Despite only being in her mid-thirties, he argued that the claimant’s disabilities began back in 2016, even under Social Security’s strict rules, and have continued to the present. During the hearing, we amended the original onset date to June 2016, with a request for a re-opening of the prior decision.

Within a month of her hearing, we received a Fully Favorable Decision in which the ALJ agreed to the re-opening with the amended onset date – meaning tens of thousands of dollars of additional back-pay benefits owed to his client. With this decision comes not only the validation for the client that she should not have been working after 2016, but also the financial relief and insurance to help cover her critical doctor’s visits.

If you or someone you know are suffering from any physical impairments or mental health, contact us today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. We will work with you, and alongside your doctors, to ensure all evidence needed is received. You can rely on our team at Disability Law Group from start to finish to provide you with the expert advice and compassionate representation and the benefits you deserve.

May Case Spotlight

In May of 2021, Disability Law Group partner Mandy Kelly received a win on one of her most difficult cases to date.  After several years of fighting, Disability Law Group was able to obtain service-connected disability payments for her client retroactive to 1995!  Many Veterans reach out to Disability Law group seeking assistance with obtaining their VA disability monthly compensation, but many others contact our attorneys because they are not happy with the date that their benefits were paid back to or their ‘entitlement date’ assigned by the VA.

In this case, Mandy Kelly’s client was discharged from the military in 1995 after treating several times during service for anxiety and self-induced vomiting. The Veteran filed for service connected benefits within a year of his discharge. Filing within a year of discharge would normally allow for a veteran to be granted benefits retroactive to the day after he was discharged from the military, but the VA did something that is unfortunately all too common – they sent him on a VA Compensation and Pension examination to confirm he was still suffering from anxiety. The doctor, although provided with proof of several years of documentation confirming the Veteran suffers from anxiety, determined he was not suffering from any signs of mental health symptoms.

Therefore, the Veteran’s claim was initially denied by the VA for not having a current diagnosis. The Veteran, feeling defeated and lacking the knowledge on how to fight the Department of Veteran’s Affairs alone, received the decision and failed to file an appeal in a timely manner.  Years later in 2015, the Veteran refiled again for benefits and was immediately granted service connection, but only retroactive to 2015.  After receiving this decision, he hoped that there was something that could be done to allow for the effective date back to when he initially filed. Upon being referred to Disability Law Group, he immediately had a free consultation with attorney Mandy Kelly. After a thorough review of his file, Mandy Kelly found the evidence she was looking for to support that the Veteran was entitled to an earlier effective date. The basis for an earlier effective date is that under the provisions of 38 C.F.R. § 3.156(b), VA was in “constructive possession” of relevant VA inpatient and outpatient treatment records within one year of the otherwise final 1995 Rating Decision.

A Board of Veterans’ Appeals hearing was held in November 2020 and all legal arguments were presented. The Veteran provided testimony and was represented by Mandy Kelly during his hearing before the Judge. Ultimately, the Judge agreed with Mandy Kelly and granted the Veteran his retroactive benefits back to 1995! After years of struggling with not only his own mental health symptoms, but also dealing with the earlier rejection by the VA and the agency’s contracted doctor, the Veteran received the relief and monetary compensation through the VA that he deserves.

If you or someone you know was recently granted service connection for PTSD, anxiety, or any other service connected condition, and believe you are entitled to an earlier effective date, contact Disability Law Group today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. Whether you were already denied or if you would like advice from the very start, contact us today and speak with one of our attorneys to understand your rights and get the representation that you need.

April Case Spotlight

In the early part of 2020, attorney Erika Riggs was contacted by a woman from Troy, Michigan, who had been looking on google for the best attorney to help her win her disability case. After reading reviews on many disability law firms, she chose to hire Disability Law Group. She knew from the beginning that she did not want to go through the disability process alone, and needed a law firm that would be available to talk with her, carefully review her file, answer all questions she had, and treat her with compassion and respect. She found all of those qualities in Disability Law Group.

Attorney Erika Riggs immediately got to work on her case, explaining what to expect from the very start and strategizing ways to help her chances of being approved as quickly as possible. The team at Disability Law Group prepared and submitted her application for Social Security Disability benefits, and diligently followed-up on the case. Mrs. Riggs believed that her client would be working if she was able, but that her medical conditions have become too severe and debilitating for her. Unfortunately, her client suffered from severe neck pain and numbness, trouble with her balance, bladder problems, and depression; she found herself needing to complete physical therapy, chiropractic care, and nightly bladder installations, after being tried on a variety of medications that only offered her temporary relief. Erika always made herself available via email correspondences, text messages and phone calls to ensure the records were up-to-date with all medical records and supportive documents.

While the vast majority of cases are denied at the initial application level, Attorney Riggs and the team at Disability Law Group made it their priority to ensure all evidence was received, to help increase the chances of approval at the initial level or as quickly as possible. Thankfully, by January of 2021, Disability Law Group confirmed that Erika’s client was approved at the initial application level. This decision allowed for the client to receive back-pay benefits in the form of a lump sum to the client, as well as Medicare insurance coverage. Here is what the client had to say in her review:

Client Review:

It is my honor to write a recommendation for Erika Riggs and her law firm, Disability Law Group. It was with great trepidation that I apply for Social Security Disability. Leaving a job I loved after 22 years, going through the seemingly arduous task of applying for SSD, learning to live as a disabled person was so overwhelming to me to me I could barely think about it. A friend recommended I get an attorney. I found Erika through google, and I am so happy I did.

Erika and I spoke at length on the phone, she clearly explained what I would need to do and what she would do for me. When the conversation ended I felt sure she would work very hard on my behalf, and she did.

Every phone call I made to her was promptly returned, her assistant was professional, always helpful and accommodating. They kept me informed of every detail as we moved through the process. I first spoke with Erika in January 2020, I had just left my job, my beloved sister had recently passed away and I was living in extreme pain. She was so kind, so understanding and so determined. Two weeks ago I was approved for SSD. I never met Erika face to face, but I feel I have known her forever. I cannot recommend her strongly enough.

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If you or someone you know are suffering from pain or other serious problems that keep you from being able to work and affect your ability to function normally, contact Disability Law Group today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. We pride ourselves on helping disabled individuals receive disability benefits as quickly as possible. Whether you have been denied or if you would like advice from the very start, contact us today and speak with an attorney for a free consultation to understand your rights and get the representation that you deserve.

March Case Spotlight

In July 2019, attorney Randall Mansour received a phone call from a woman who had been battling serious health problems, including chronic low back pain, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and autism. Recognizing significant health issues, she tried to continue working as a teacher but ultimately was laid-off as her employer was unable to continue providing accommodations as they did in the past. Unfortunately, her mental and physical ailments made it difficult to sustain that type of work as she continued to be absent from work, even on a weekly basis. After talking with many doctors and her family, she knew it was time to consult with a disability attorney, but she wanted to make sure she was dealing with someone reputable who truly cares about their clients and only specializes in this type of law.

When she called Disability Law Group, she was met with kindness and compassion; she hired attorney Mansour after their initial free consultation and began the process of awaiting for her hearing with him by her side. Mr. Mansour was able to obtain a hearing for the claimant within 6 months of her appeal. More importantly, the staff at Disability Law Group assisted the client from start to finish, from the application stage, then the appeal through the hearing level. Randall was able to assist his client in getting her hearing scheduled right away by opting into a phone hearing, instead of postponing and waiting for a live in-person hearing. During the current COVID-19 pandemic, all hearing offices have been closed to the public, and began offering phone and now video hearings. Additionally, Attorney Mansour also worked with his case manager and dedicated team at Disability Law Group to obtain critical medical evidence and statements in support of her case from her doctors in a team effort, and then thoroughly prepared his client for her hearing.

Mr. Mansour drafted a detailed brief with an analysis of his client’s health problems and treatment; he provided the Judge with two supportive questionnaires (one physical and one mental) about her impairments and limitations from her doctors. During the hearing, the Judge asked about the earnings after her alleged onset date of February 2019; however, Attorney Mansour and his client were prepared and raised the argument that the earnings were not considered earned income, but rather employer-provided benefits with sick pay. Instead of potentially losing several months of back pay benefits if this amount were deemed income from work, we were able to secure and present documentation confirming that the amount reported was indeed benefits rather than earned income.

Ultimately, this evidence helped save this client thousands of dollars in potential monthly benefits. The ALJ considered the woman’s testimony, treatment notes, evidence submitted including employer statements and statements from her providers that Disability Law Group helped obtain and presented. All of documentation and evidence were consistent and re-assured the fact that she was unable to work. By February 2021, less than one month from the date of the hearing, both the claimant and counsel had received the good news: Fully Favorable Decision. With this decision comes not only the validation for her that she could not have continued working, but also the financial relief and insurance to help cover her critical doctor’s visits and keep a roof over her head.

Disability benefits can be a much deserved lifeline for many people in need. If you or someone you know are suffering from any physical impairments or mental health, contact us today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. We will work continuously from start to finish providing you with excellent representation and the benefits you deserve.

February Case Spotlight

In November of 2019, attorney Erika Riggs was contacted by a woman from Harrison Township, Michigan, who had been referred to her from another attorney after receiving a letter from Social Security that her son’s disability benefits was reviewed and would soon end. Social Security decided to review her son’s disability case even though he was found disabled years prior. Social Security periodically reviews the claimant’s medical impairment(s) to determine if the disabling condition(s) has continued. If Social Security determines that the person is no longer disabled or blind, then benefits will stop.

While there are a number of reasons why the Social Security Administration could review a disability case to determine ongoing entitlement to disability benefits, they will typically do so regardless of a reason at least once every three years if the condition is expected to improve. However, if the disabling condition is not anticipated to improve, Social Security may still review the case but typically only every five to seven years. Social Security should reach out to you to obtain any updated information about your condition(s) using form SSA-454 called a ‘Continuing Disability Review Report’ or form SSA-455 which is a ‘Disability Update Report’ that can be completed online. Other factors that may affect entitlement to disability benefits may also be reviewed, including income, resources, and living arrangements, for example, to determine whether benefits should continue, stop, or be changed in any way. In some cases, the claimant may be responsible for paying back benefits, called an overpayment, if it is determined that benefits were improperly paid.

In any case, it is important to have an experienced, compassionate disability attorney on your side to help you win and keep the disability benefits that you deserve. If Social Security deems that the disabling condition has ended, you will have appeal rights contained in correspondence from the Social Security Administration. In this case, the disability benefits had recently been denied on October of 2019 and they had only 60 days to file an appeal called a ‘Request for Reconsideration’ at this stage. Attorney Erika Riggs carefully reviewed all of the documentation, medical records and notice of Cessation of benefits they had received from Social Security. However, this client desperately needed ongoing benefits – both monthly financial support and insurance that they had been accustomed to in order to continue seeing his doctors and maintaining treatment. Attorney Riggs agreed to represent the woman’s son pro bono in his claim for continued disability benefits so that he could continue to see his doctors, keep up with the medical treatment, and receive the ongoing support that he desperately needed.

Immediately, Erika got to work on her client’s case. She filed the appeal, prepared new medical evidence and updated his file to make sure that all the supportive information was received; she then submitted all documents over to Social Security and began following-up with his case examiner with Social Security’s Disability Determination Services. Next, Social Security scheduled her client for a consultative examination where a doctor contracted through the Social Security Administration would evaluate him. Attorney Riggs explained what to expect at this examination and helped ease their nerves about the entire process. Shortly after this examination took place, Disability Law Group received notice that the case was approved, and that Erika’s client would continue to receive his monthly benefits and insurance without any interruption. This decision provided immeasurable relief and comfort to both the client and his family who could now focus on other, more important things like his health and healing without worrying about an overpayment, additional appeals, or losing critical monthly benefits.

If you or someone you know are suffering from pain or other serious problems that keep you from being able to work and affect your ability to function normally, contact Disability Law Group today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. We pride ourselves on helping disabled individuals receive disability benefits as quickly as possible. Whether you have been denied or if you would like advice from the very start, contact us today and speak with an attorney for a free consultation to understand your rights and get the representation that you deserve.

Disability Law Group: January Case Spotlight

Attorney Mandy Kelly was contacted by a female veteran suffering from severe PTSD, chronic pain, and significant breathing issues which, unfortunately, rendered her unable to work. She filed for service-connected disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, but, like most veterans, she was denied.  Prior to entering the service, she was a smart, healthy young woman who was looking forward to serving her country, but she exited with more pain than anyone should endure in a lifetime.

Feeling discouraged and ready to give up, she was told to contact an attorney who specializes in veterans’ disability cases to see if she had a case worth pursuing. This is when she called and reached out to attorney Mandy Kelly for help. After her free consultation with Mandy, she felt confident that she had a strong case and now an attorney who could help her fight to get the benefits she deserved. She immediately hired Attorney Kelly to represent her and pursue her appeal.

The veteran’s hearing before a Board of Veterans’ Appeals Judge was scheduled for February of 2020.  During her hearings, she was finally able to explain to the Judge all of the pain she has been going through since her time in service.  She was able to express how her exposures in service caused her to suffer from asthma. She also explained how her experiences in service caused her to develop severe PTSD. She described feeling as though her chronic pain was not addressed during her active duty time, even after she begged her superiors for help. With the assistance of Mandy Kelly, and the help of her supportive doctors, she was able to obtain numerous medical nexus opinions corroborating that her conditions began in service.  Every one of her specialists supported her connections when the proper medical literature was supplied to the doctors by Disability Law Group.

Ultimately the Board found that the weight of the evidence was in favor of service connection for all of her conditions. After years of waiting for justice and validation, this veteran client was finally awarded service connection for asthma, PTSD, and chronic pain. Additionally, she was granted individual unemployability with permanent and total status, retroactive to 2013!

If you or someone you know are suffering from PTSD, chronic pain or other serious health problems that you believe were caused by something you were exposed to in-service, contact Disability Law Group today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. Whether you were already denied or if you would like advice from the very start, contact us today and speak with one of our attorneys to understand your rights and get the representation that you need.

Disability Law Group: November Case Spotlight

In October 2019, attorney Randall Mansour received a phone call from a woman who had been battling serious health problems, including severe migraines, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, deep vein thrombosis, and hypertension. She had also recently began to experience depression due to her worsening health and inability to work or function like she used to. Recognizing significant health issues and trauma was no new territory for her as she spent many years working as a certified nurse assistant, but she was young and did not want to accept the fact that she should not be working at any job. Although she was experiencing significant health problems while working as a nurse assistant, she tried to transition to another field of work as a gas station manager.  Unfortunately, her physical ailments made it difficult to sustain that type of work, as she continued to be absent from work weekly. After talking with many doctors and her family, she knew it was time to consult with a disability attorney, but she wanted to make sure she was dealing with someone reputable who truly cares about their clients and only specializes in this type of work. 

When she called Disability Law Group she was met with compassion and empathy; she hired attorney Mansour after their initial free consultation and began the process of waiting for her hearing with him by her side. Mr. Mansour was able to obtain a hearing for the claimant less than 12 months from her initial application. More importantly, the Disability Law Group assisted the client from start to finish, from the application stage, then the appeals, then the hearing. Randall was able to assist his client in getting her scheduled right away through a phone hearing, instead of postponing and waiting for a live in-person hearing. Additionally, he also worked with his case manager and dedicated team at Disability Law Group to obtain critical medical evidence and statements in support of her case from her doctors, in addition to thoroughly prepping the client for her hearing.

In his brief, not only did Mr. Mansour provide a detailed analysis of his client’s health problems and treatment, he argued that her conditions were so severe they met or medically equaled the relevant Listing, and requested that the ALJ award benefits by finding her to be “disabled” pursuant to Listing 4.11 for Chronic venous insufficiency of a lower extremity with incompetency or obstruction of the deep venous system. This Listing requires medical documentation of many specific criteria, such as adherence to treatment for at least 3 consecutive months along with:

  • A. Extensive brawny edema involving at least two-thirds of the leg between the ankle and knee or the distal one-third of the lower extremity between the ankle and hip

Or

  • B. Superficial varicosities, stasis dermatitis, and either recurrent ulceration or persistent ulceration that has not healed following at least 3 months of prescribed treatment.

During the hearing, it was revealed the records showed earnings after her alleged onset date of May 2019; however, we made the argument the earnings were not considered earned income, but rather employer-provided benefits. Instead of potentially losing several months of back pay, we respectfully requested additional time to provide documentation from her previous employer. The judge allowed 14 additional days to provide her with the documentation. Mr. Mansour and his staff worked diligently to retrieve that documentation, which saved the client thousands of dollars in potential monthly benefits.

After careful review, the ALJ agreed that Randall’s client was disabled, finding the letters from her employers and reports obtained from her doctors that Disability Law Group carefully drafted for her case to be “persuasive.” By October 2020, less than one month from the date of the hearing, both the claimant and counsel had received the good news: Fully Favorable Decision. With this decision comes not only the validation that she should not have been working, but also the financial relief and insurance to help cover her critical treatments. The client hopes to obtain full-time employment again if her conditions and symptoms subside, and with proper treatment and care, this could be obtainable in the near future.

If you or someone you know are suffering from any physical impairments, specifically trouble with sitting and standing due to lower extremity problems and/or mental health conditions, contact us today for your free consultation. Our attorneys and staff specialize strictly in disability benefits, and we will fight to help you win every benefit you deserve. Whether you were already denied and need to file a request for reconsideration or an appeal, or if you would like help from the very start, contact us today and speak with one of our attorneys to understand your rights and get the representation that you need.